The COVID-19 pandemic has tech companies rushing to release contact tracing tools that can track your location and tell you if you came in contact with the virus. But what do people think about such an invasive measure? According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, Americans are not convinced it’s worth the risks.
The report says that 60 percent of respondents felt that tracking locations would not make a difference to the spread of COVID-19. Overall, only a little over half of respondents (52 percent) felt it was acceptable for the government to track the location of those who test positive for COVID-19. And 62 percent of Americans find it unacceptable to track location to ensure compliance with social-distancing recommendations.
This sentiment might be connected to peoples’ overall wariness of data collection in general. A 2019 survey showed that most Americans don’t feel they benefit from companies (72 percent) and the government (76 percent) collecting their data. Furthermore, 79 percent felt concern over how companies used the data that had already been collected.
This all comes to a head when you consider 70 percent of Americans feel their personal information is now less secure than it was five years ago. It shows an overall lack of trust in the access third parties have to everyone’s data and a reluctance to use methods such as contact tracing even in the midst of a crisis.
In fact, most Americans seemingly want to go in the opposite direction than what features like contact tracing represent. Pew Research Center previously uncovered that 69 percent of US adults support the right to be forgotten with regards to medical data collection.